Copa Mundial, Coupe du Monde, Coppa Del Mondo, no matter what language you say it in, the World Cup is the biggest football competition on the planet and this week the Women’s event kicks off in France, with 24 teams vying to become World Champions!

52 matches will take place around the country between June 7 and July 7 at 9 venues, including the famous Parc de Princes in Paris and Lyon’s Parc Olympique Lyonnais which hosts the final. 

While Brazil, Germany, Sweden, USA, Norway, Japan and Nigeria make their 8th consecutive appearance at the finals, there are four nations making their World Cup debuts, in the form of Chile, Jamaica, South Africa and Scotland.  Each will hope to be one of the best third place teams, at least, and get into the knockout stages of the competition.

The opening match of the competition takes place in Paris on Friday night as hosts France take on South Korea.  The French will be one of the favourites to lift the cup and emulate their male compatriots by holding the World Cup at the same time – only Germany (Women in 2011 and men in 2014) have done this feat before.  Watch out for Eugenie Le Sommer starring for Les Bleues who has bagged over 70 goals for her nation so far.  Norway will be France’s main challengers for Group A and will hope to show they are better than their world ranking of 13th and go deep into the tournament though they will definitely miss Ballon D’or winner Ada Hegerberg.

Group B should see Germany have a fairly easy passage to the knockout rounds, taking on China, Spain and South Africa.  The Germans should continue their run of making the quarter finals of every World Cup at least.

Group C puts debutants Jamaica in a tough group alongside Italy and two of the pre-tournament big guns in Australia and Brazil.  The “Matildas” and Brazil face each other in the second round of round-robin games on June 17 and this should determine who wins the group.  Brazilian legend Marta and Australian Sam Kerr, who is rated higher on FIFA 19 than Mo Salah, will be the stars to watch in this group.

For fans on the British Isles, Group D is the one to watch, as this includes England and Scotland.  The “Auld Enemy” face off on Sunday 9 June in the glamorous Riviera of Nice and Scotland will hope for a better result than when they played each other at Euro 2017 – England won that one 6-0 – but since then Shelley Kerr’s side have improved vastly, missing out on qualification for the quarter finals at Euro 2017 and beating sides like Brazil already this year.  Players hoping to make an impact for the Scots are Arsenal midfielder Kim Little, winger Caroline Weir who plays for Man City as well as strikers Jane Ross and Erin Cuthbert of West Ham and Chelsea respectively.

The Lionesses, managed by former Manchester United utility-man Phil Neville, will hope to do even better than the last World Cup in Canada, where they finished in third place.  After a great SheBelieves Cup win earlier this year, they will have the confidence and belief that they can be a major contender in France. 

A side brimming with talent such as captain Steph Houghton and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze, midfielders like Man City pairing Jill Scott and Georgia Stanway, who at 20 is the youngest member of Neville’s squad and could have a real impact at the World Cup, to forwards Toni Duggan, Ellen White and Nikita Parris, England have a great chance of lifting the trophy next month.  Sadly, the Nike sponsored Jordan Nobbs will be absent after picking up a season-ending injury in 2018.

Speaking of Nike, check out the cool new Nike advert for the World Cup that focuses on the Women’s World Cup.

Group E pits Canada against sides like current European champions the Netherlands and New Zealand but the Canadians, led by the experienced Christine Sinclair, who holds the record for most goals scored by a Canadian with 181 from 282 appearances, should win their group.

The last of the groups (Group F) includes the defending world champions USA who as number one in the world will be the favourites to win and retain the cup.  A hugely experienced side led by Carli Lloyd, who at 36 is possibly playing in her last World Cup, and Alex Morgan, the US should be too try for the likes of Sweden, Chile and Thailand and will be there or thereabouts at the business end of the tournament again.

This summer’s World Cup promises to be an exciting and historic event and will get great exposure for the women’s game as they look to #changethesport